'Garbage should be eliminated': Bengal BJP cracks over defectors … – ThePrint

Kolkata: The arrest of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader in Howrah has deepened the fissures within the party’s West Bengal unit, visible ever since the BJP lost to the Trinamool Congress in the 2021 assembly elections.
Last year’s election defeat had raised questions within the BJP about the party’s massive induction drives in the run-up to the assembly polls, especially since many of the new entrants failed to perform in the elections.
Now with the arrest of Sumit Ranjan Karar Friday, for allegedly taking bribes on the pretext of providing government jobs, the “insiders versus outsiders” debate within the party has become more intense. Karar, the BJP candidate from West Bengal’s Udaynarayanpur constituency in the 2021 assembly polls, had defected to the BJP from the Congress in 2020. He went on to lose the 2021 election to the Trinamool’s Samir Kumar Panja by over 13,000 votes.
Following Karar’s arrest, BJP member and former Governor of Tripura and Meghalaya, Tathagata Roy, took to social media Sunday to comment thatIt is time for the BJP to investigate which party such people came from, who brought them? Such garbage should be immediately eliminated from the BJP.”
হাওড়ার বিজেপি নেতা সুমিত কাঁড়ার চাকরি দেবার নামে ঘুষ নিয়ে ধরা পড়েছে। এ কোন দল থেকে এসেছিল, কারা এনেছিল, কিসের লোভে আদর্শনিষ্ঠ বিজেপি কর্মীদের অবহেলা করে এদেরকে কোলে তুলে নাচা হয়েছিল এগুলো খতিয়ে দেখবার সময় এখনই ! আর দেরি না করে জঞ্জাল বিদায় করুন |@BJP4Bengal pic.twitter.com/WyUUD0g40p
— Tathagata Roy (@tathagata2) June 19, 2022

Roy, a former BJP Bengal unit chief, also posted a photograph of Kailash Vijayvargiya — the BJP’s central observer for West Bengal — comparing him to the pug in the popular Vodaphone promos. Vijayvargiya was seen at BJP inductions for new members ahead of the 2021 polls, along with the Trinamool Congress’s Mukul Roy, who was then a national vice president of the BJP.
ThePrint reached Vijayvargiya over the phone and also contacted his office through WhatsApp, but received no response till the time of publication of this report.
Meanwhile, Roy told ThePrint that his tweet was self explanatory. “We have seen after the elections that many BJP faces were given undeserved high posts. I gather Sumit Ranjan was one such person. Such people must be weeded out politically from the BJP (for the party) to be in a better position to fight in the state.”
Roy added: “I have said it earlier — it was a stupid and idiotic thing to induct so many persons before the elections here in West Bengal. There could have been ill motivation behind it too, maybe.”
In the run-up to the 2021 West Bengal assembly elections, the BJP not only conducted massive induction programmes at rallies attended by Home Minister Amit Shah, it also flew Trinamool leaders to New Delhi in chartered planes to enable them to join the BJP. One such leader was Rajib Banerjee, who fought the 2021 elections from Domjur constituency on a BJP ticket, but lost to the Trinamool’s Kalyan Ghosh. He later left the BJP to return to the Trinamool.
The BJP also conducted massive induction programmes at its election office in Kolkata’s Hastings neighbourhood.
ThePrint reached BJP MP and national vice president Dilip Ghosh’s office over WhatsApp, but was declined comment on Roy’s tweet.
Earlier, while reviewing the BJP’s loss in last year’s assembly elections, Ghosh — then president of the party’s Bengal unit — had said,  “In 2019, there were many candidates who defected to our party from Trinamool. They won. Why did the turncoats lose the assembly elections? There has been disgruntlement among old party workers [against the new members]. We are looking into these issues.”
Udayan Bandopadhyay, a political analyst and associate professor of political science at Kolkata’s Bangabasi College, said, “Most of these netas joined the BJP hoping that it would form government and they would get ministerial berths, but that didn’t happen. It only created chaos; in fact, the BJP would have done better if they had used their old guard in a better manner.”
He added: “Now the newcomers have been given priority, while the old guard has been sidelined and remains disgruntled.”
Also read: Why Modi, Yogi govts are treating Agnipath protesters as ‘their people’
Tathagata Roy was, however, quick to defend Suvendu Adhikari, another former Trinamool Congress leader — one who had been with the TMC from its inception — who defected to the BJP months before last year’s assembly elections.
Adhikari went on to defeat West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee from the Nandigram constituency in the assembly elections, and is currently leader of the opposition in the West Bengal assembly.
“No self-respecting person will put up with Mamata’s (Banerjee) style of functioning. I have hopes in Suvendu, he is a hard working leader, and he is doing good work in the BJP,” said Roy.
Meanwhile, as veteran BJP leaders have raised questions over defectors joining the party, many have also abandoned the BJP since its loss in last year’s assembly elections, and have either returned to the Trinamool fold or become first-time members of the ruling party in West Bengal.
These include leaders such as Arjun Singh, Babul Supriyo, Mukul Roy, his son Subhranshu Roy, Rajib Banerjee, Sabyasachi Dutta and Prabir Ghoshal. A former vice president of the Bengal BJP, Joy Prakash Majumdar, also joined the Trinamool Congress earlier this year.
A senior BJP leader in West Bengal told ThePrint on condition of anonymity that, “What Tathagata Roy has said has also been said by Dilip Ghosh, BJP West Bengal unit president Sukanta Majumdar, and several other leaders.”
“Many of those who joined us before the elections last year have left. I would say at least 99 per cent of them are gone,” said the leader, adding, “see, this (inductions) cannot be one person’s responsibility. Our party isn’t run by an individual; all decisions are made upon collective responsibility.”
Discussing the BJP’s division over inductions and the “insider vs outsider” debate, political analyst and author of Gangster State: The rise and fall of the CPI(M) in West Bengal, Sourjya Bhowmik, said, “The trust in defectors is shrinking in politics. Over two dozen leaders from Trinamool had joined the BJP before elections and then when they lost, they returned to Trinamool. So, parties must see if defections even lead to any political profit in terms of votes.”
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)
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